THE “HEX” – U.S. RESOURCE PICTURE FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS
Fresh water in North America appear to be adequate at least for the foreseeable future, as do supplies of fertilizers for food production (potash, nitrogen, and phosphorous) and the basic construction materials (limestone, clay and gypsum for concrete; clay for brick; silica, lime and trona for glass; and gypsum for drywall and Plaster-of-Paris). Potential problems exist in maintaining sustainable supplies of energy, and of a number of important metals. The U.S. imports significant quantities of a large number of metals because it is cheaper to do so, and because environmental concerns with mining have made it easier to just look elsewhere the future of metal production in the U.S. remains clouded. Coal reserves are sufficient for the foreseeable future (250+ years), but reserves of oil and natural gas are a concern. Continued research on clean-burning technology, and anticipated advances in alternative energy production provide hope on the energy front. All-in-all, the conclusion of the seminar was that the resource future for the U.S. remains reasonably bright, at least for several generations.